UK-Born Lucy Moffatt Wins Norway’s 2020 NORLA Translator’s Award

In News by Porter Anderson

The Norwegian Literature Abroad program, NORLA, honors Norwegian-to-English translator Lucy Moffatt with its annual prize, and lists this month’s international trade meetings.

Lucy Moffatt in Risør gets a visit from NORLA for her win of the 2020 Translator’s Award. Image: NORLA

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Contributing to ‘Norwegian Literature Abroad’
NORLA, Norwegian Literature Abroad, is preparing for its autumn trade meetings in Poland, the States, China, Belgium, France, Austria, Moscow and more, it also has named Lucy Moffatt its 2020 Translator’s Award laureate.

This is an award program that switches each year between fiction and nonfiction, and Moffatt’s recognition is for her work in nonfiction. She wins a cash prize of 20,000 Norwegian kroner (US$2,211) and a stay of up to three weeks in the writers’ apartment in Oslo’s House of Literature.

Moffatt is the translator of Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson’s Extraordinary Insects: The Fabulous, Indispensable Creatures Who Run Our World (Simon & Schuster, July), originally published as Insektenes planet (JM Stenersens Forlag, 2018). Sverdrup-Thygeson joined our Publishing Perspectives Talk on publishing and the climate crisis at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2019.

As NORLA’s information tells us, that book has had a solid international rights performance, being sold by Hans Petter Bakketeig at Stilton Literary Agency into Brazil, China (simplified and complex Chinese), Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French North America, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, South Korea, Sweden, Spanish (World rights), Turkish, the United Kingdom, British Commonwealth, the United States, and Canada.

NORLA also points to her success with what the organization terms “Ellen Støkken Dahl and Nina Brochmann’s informative feminist project The Wonder Down Under: A User’s Guide to the Vagina, where the narrator’s cheeky tone was important for the book’s success. Lucy handled the direct and humorous style of the book exceptionally well.

Moffat also translated Are Kalvø’s Hiking to Hell, originally published as Hyttebok frå Helvete by Kagge Forlag (2018) and set for a 2021 release in English, NORLA says.

In terms of her career, Moffatt started by translating from Spanish into English, then learned and started working in Norwegian, having met a fiddle maker from Norway. She lives with him in Risør, and you can learn more about her and hear from her in the video below. NORLA shot the video by making a “Publishers Clearing House”-style trip to Risør to present the award at Moffatt’s front door.

In the video, Moffatt tells us that she likes fishing because “You’re not focusing your mind on anything in particular while you’re out fishing, and suddenly, pow, something pops up. Often when you’ve just caught a fish.”

In its announcement, NORLA’s staff writes, “The criteria for NORLA’s Translator’s Award state that the prize is awarded to ‘a talented young translator who has contributed significantly to the translation of Norwegian literature into foreign languages, as well as to the promotion of Norwegian literature abroad.’ Lucy Moffatt’s career as a Norwegian translator is still young, and we believe that this award will help contribute further to the promotion of Norwegian literature abroad.”

Upcoming International Market Trade Meetings

On an page listing its upcoming activities, you can check on the digital trade meetings the organization has scheduled in coming days.

They include:

More markets and meetings are here.

And Sunday (November 15 is the deadline for the latest round of translation subsidy applications, those funds intended to encourage international publishers to publish books by Norwegian authors of fiction and nonfiction. That information is here.

Frankfurter Buchmesse 2019 Guest of Honor Norway reported in June that 510 Norwegian titles had been tracked on the German market, including translations from Norwegian and books written about Norway in German.”

On Lake Gjevilvatnet, November 5. Image – iStockphoto: Jelena Safronova

More from Publishing Perspectives on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here, and more on Norway and its publishing industry is here. More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here

About the Author

Porter Anderson

Facebook Twitter

Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.